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Collaborating on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Using external resources

A guide for academics on using library expertise and resources to enhance their MOOCs

Text & Images

Text from books or journals

If you want to reproduce scholarly articles or chapters, this may require payment depending on the policy of the publisher regarding MOOCs.

  • Some examples of costs involved from other institutions are $US2500 for one chapter or $AUD200 for 1000 words.
  • Some publishers may want cross promotion or links to their site included instead of or including the cost. This would need to be discussed with OVPLT in case it is outside the terms of the agreement with FutureLearn.

Sometimes different versions of the articles are available directly from open access repositories or the author’s own website. Consult with the library staff about finding open or alternative resources.

Text from websites

You may be able to reproduce text from websites depending on the terms and conditions of the site. These are usually to be found in a link at the foot of the website under ‘copyright’ or ‘terms of use’. If you are unsure, please check with the copyright adviser .


If you are using screenshots from an AV source such as a film or video, the same considerations would apply as using the actual video source. A single screenshot or image from a film or TV show or YouTube video is still protected by copyright as an image and would require permission.


Many images available online were not placed there by the copyright owner and may breach copyright. If there is no photographer or source listed this is often an indication that the image is unauthorised. The MOOC should not contain these sorts of images.
It is also difficult to trace many images to work out who the actual copyright owner is - they are replicated so many times that they lose all their identifying information. If you have any questions about the provenance of images please contact the Copyright Adviser.

  • Try to use images from reputable sources like libraries, universities, institutions and museums. Creative commons and public domain images are to be preferred. See a list of these at Online image resources
  • NOTE Creative Commons Non-commercial images can’t be used in MOOCs because of their commercial nature.
  • An alternative to free images is to purchase a stock photo subscription. This can be a short cut if you have specific requirements. OVPLT have details of Monash’s existing subscriptions.

The copyright office can seek permission for particular images, but figures from scholarly journals can be very expensive.

  • For example one Monash MOOC had to pay $AUD235 for a single image that the author of the MOOC had created themselves in their article.
  • Another journal wanted $US600 for a single figure.

Artists collecting societies can sometimes grant licences for use of artworks in a MOOC. For example Monash obtained a worldwide licence for one painting for one year’s use $AUD160 plus GST, 3 years at $AUD320 plus GST or 5 years at $AUD480 plus GST.

If you need permissions for any copyright material for your MOOC, please contact the copyright adviser on behalf of the MOOCs permission team.


  • Sourcing appropriate music needs to be considered at an early stage as there are only limited amounts of free or low cost music available.
  • Any music used as background in the MOOC would need permission.
  • For a list of free or low cost  resources see: Copyright Free or Creative Commons Music. Beware of restrictive licence terms that mean music can’t be used in the MOOC eg non-commercial use only.
  • Commercially produced music or top 40 material has multi-levels of permission needed, which is very time consuming and tends to be expensive.
  • Production music may be a cheaper alternative. It is composed especially as background music and can be obtained from the collecting society APRA/AMCOS .

Consult with the Office of Learning and Teaching about music and licensing.

If you need permissions for any copyright material for your MOOC, please contact the copyright adviser on behalf of the MOOCs permission team.


From YouTube, Vimeo etc. (openly accessible online resources)

If you want to use existing YouTube or Vimeo or other online videos make sure the video is authorised ie put online by the copyright owner.

  • This may not be easy to determine. Check whether it is uploaded by a TV channel (eg BBC) by the organisation that created it (a university, company or organisation eg Khan academy, TED talks) or is on an authorised channel eg Monty Python have their own channel.
  • Often 'institutional' videos are the best option here. If something is uploaded by JoeBlow64 it is less likely to be authorised.
  • Monash might need to seek permission from that institution to get the footage directly to avoid the platform (eg YouTube) terms and conditions.
  • See How do you know if a YouTube video is legitimate? (DOCX, 24kb) for more information

Using already existing footage may mean linking to it because the terms and conditions of YouTube and Vimeo require streaming not downloading.

FutureLearn themselves discourage linking as they prefer that all video is original or ‘in-MOOC’ footage.

From DVDs

If you want to use video from existing DVDs, this would also require permission.  Permission for AV material will usually involve payment.

  • For example one piece of footage from a DVD cost Monash US$50.00 for 30 seconds and under (minimum fee per clip) or US$100.00 per minute for a three year licence.

From TV recordings

If you want to use video from recordings you have made from TV, the Educational copyright licence won’t apply because of the open nature of MOOCs. You would need permission for TV recordings in the same way as other AV material. This can be expensive.

  • An example from another institution was around $AUD1000 for 20 seconds of BBC material, although most companies charge a 30 second minimum fee.

From online databases accessed through the library/requiring a Monash Account

If you want to use video from databases that require a Monash Account, such as EduTV or Alexander Street Press, you will need permission. These resources are only available for Monash staff and students to access. It may be possible to get permission, but there will be costs for this. It may also take a long time as there will be many rights-holders to be contacted.

If you need permissions for any copyright material for your MOOC, please contact the copyright adviser on behalf of the MOOCs permission team.